arm's length


Definition of arm's length 

1 : a distance discouraging personal contact or familiarity kept former friends at arm's length now

2 : the condition or fact that the parties to a transaction are independent and on an equal footing

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from arm's length

arm's-length adjective

Examples of arm's length in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Since jumping into the Senate race, McSally has reshaped her persona from a pragmatic conservative who kept Trump at arm's length to a more enthusiastic Trump supporter. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Martha McSally campaign in line for $5 million from GOP establishment," 29 June 2018 The idea of being an arm's length away from art just doesn't compute any more., "Pop Culture Is Breathing New Life Into Stuffy Museums," 18 June 2018 But Boston quickly rattled off a 7-0 run of its own and kept Milwaukee at arm's length for the rest of the half, owning a 60-51 advantage at the break. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Celtics 120, Bucks 106: Lackluster Milwaukee falls into a 2-0 hole in the series," 17 Apr. 2018 Their job, however, is not to run the place but to stand back at arm's length and have the museum run by pros. Christopher Knight,, "MOCA has lacked an effective director for nearly 20 years. It's time for change," 26 May 2018 The Vatican under the past two popes had kept the Way at arm's length because of its unusual liturgical practices. Fox News, "Pope urges Neocatechumenal missionaries to respect cultures," 5 May 2018 Keeping the White House at arm's length, Pruitt has rehearsed answers aimed at deflecting some of the most serious ethical allegations to surface over the past few months., "Pruitt, on shaky ground, heads for the Hill," 26 Apr. 2018 Keeping the White House at arm's length, Pruitt has rehearsed answers aimed at deflecting some of the most serious ethical allegations to surface over the past few months. Author: Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "EPA chief heads to Capitol Hill as inquiries by White House signal his shaky status," 26 Apr. 2018 There are signs more institutions are deciding to at least keep Butler at arm's length. Michael Tarm, Aurora Beacon-News, "Colleges are urged to end ties with Aurora volleyball coach accused of sexual misconduct," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arm's length.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of arm's length

1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about arm's length

Share arm's length

Dictionary Entries near arm's length




arm's length




Statistics for arm's length

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for arm's length

The first known use of arm's length was in 1655

See more words from the same year

Comments on arm's length

What made you want to look up arm's length? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!